Build Back Better? In the Philippines, Thus Far It’s Build Back Worse

One of  the most fundamental tenets of rehabilitation after disasters is “Build back better” — yet in the Philippines, due to a massive funding shortfall in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda), the opposite is happening, with Filipinos sifting through rubble for corrugated sheets and nails and other damaged materials as they try to patch together makeshift shelters.

“Building back better means people are less vulnerable than before the typhoon. But with a lack of funding, people are going to be more vulnerable than before. This would mean that in a year or two we may be back here doing this again,” said Timo Luege, spokesman for the group coordinating international aid agencies’ work on shelter under the U.N.’s “cluster” system

Luege said people are finding alternative ways to repair their homes instead of waiting for help from relief organizations. Aid workers say that in a country hit by an average of 20 typhoons a year, it is essential that buildings are constructed using the right materials and in the right way.

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